The Spread of Global Hate

April 16, 2021

One insidious way to torture the detainees at Guantanamo Bay was to blast music at them at all hours. The mixtape, which included everything from Metallica to the Meow Mix jingle, was intended to disorient the captives and impress upon them the futility of resistance. It worked: This...

Could COVID-19 Bring Down Autocrats?

August 28, 2020

The outbreak of COVID-19 initially looked like a gift to autocrats around the world. What better pretext for a state of emergency than a pandemic? It was a golden opportunity to close borders, suppress civil society and issue decrees left and right (mostly right). Donald Trump in the United...

Rodrigo Duterte Profits from Democracy Fatigue

May 24, 2019

The Philippines provides one example among many others across the globe of a crisis of confidence in democratic elections and processes. The midterm elections in the Philippines have produced a result most casual foreign observers were not expecting. The controversial populist president, Rodrigo...

The Coming Uncertainty: US-Southeast Asia Relations in the Age of Trump

January 19, 2017

With President-elect Donald Trump taking office, the possibility of a declining US commitment to Southeast Asia has become a concern. This year will kick-start with, arguably, one of the highest-profile news stories in modern history: the inauguration of Donald Trump as 45th president of the...

How Can Democracy Go Wrong?

September 27, 2016

Is the representative nature of democracy the source of its poor outcomes? When we talk about dictatorships, we recall terrifying names like Stalin, Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jung Un, Idi Amin. They are all associated with images of unconstrained power, racism, xenophobia, nationalism,...

The Philippine “Punisher” Could Be a Man of Peace

September 03, 2016

How has Rodrigo Duterte fared as president of the Philippines 100 days after taking office? Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is hitting headlines for all the wrong reasons. He has threatened to pull the Philippines out of the United Nations (UN); he has ridiculed diplomats; he...